Finding of the Infant St George

WAG 2922


The Elizabethan poet Edmund Spenser recounts in 'The Faerie Queene' that the infant St George was stolen by a fairy, hidden in a field and discovered by a ploughman who brought him up. The painting was originally displayed with the following accompanying verse from the 'The Faerie Queene': 'Thence she thee brought into this faery lond, And in an heaped furrow did thee hyde, Where thee a ploughman all unweeting fond, As he his toylesome teme that way did guyde, And brought thee up in ploughman's state to byde, Whereof Georgos he thee gave to name; Till prickt with courage, and thy forces pryde, To faery court thou cams't to seek for fame, And prove thy puissant armes, as seems thee best became' This is one of the first major paintings of the ‘Birmingham School’, centred around the city’s art school in the 1890s. The artists produced works with strong outlines and ‘spaces of bright colour’ between them. The Walker’s first Chairman, PH Rathbone, bought this painting when Gere was only 25.